Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Monday, 25 September 2006 16:51 UK

Village reeling after multiple drownings

By Luke Walton
BBC News in Cumbria

The death of three young men who drowned in Ullswater in the Lake District over the weekend has shocked people who live nearby.

Satvir Singh (l), Harvinder Singh, and Tajinder Singh (r)
The trio were part of a Sikh martial arts group

The victims - who were from the West Midlands and were aged between 15 and 21 - were on a trip to the area with friends from their martial arts club.

They were paddling in the lake near the village of Glenridding on Saturday afternoon when one of them fell into deeper water. Three others tried to save him but only one survived.

Graeme Connacher, a station officer for the coastguard in the North Lakes, was one of the first on the scene.

'Unprecedented' tragedy

He says there have been drownings at the lake before but for three young men to die together was "unprecedented in his experience".

Mr Connacher warned the apparent tranquillity of Ullswater hid potential-dangers because of the depth of the water and low temperatures beneath the surface: "Suddenly the lake can drop to six or fifteen feet immediately.

"It's known as a shelf. So suddenly you can find yourself not paddling but swimming or totally immersed.

"And the shock factor when that happens can have quite dire consequences."

Coastguards, police and groups of volunteers were involved in an intensive search of the lake using boats and an RAF helicopter in an effort to discover the missing men.

Ullswater
Coastguards, police and volunteers searched the lake

A 15-year-old was rescued and was taken to hospital for the effects of shock and cold.

Three bodies were recovered by divers late on Saturday night.

Cumbria Police have named the victims as Harvinder Singh, aged 15, Satvir Singh, aged 17, and Tajinder Singh, aged 21.

They all lived in Wolverhampton. Police says officers had accompanied the grieving families of the three men as they paid their respects at the lakeside on Sunday afternoon.

Alex Seddon works in a pub close to the scene of the accident. He described the incident as a "shock, especially because the people were so young".

Dave Freeborn, a team leader for the Patterdale mountain rescue, was one of a number of local people involved in the search.

He said: "Obviously in the village everyone is talking about it - in the garage and elsewhere. It's a big thing for a small community."

SEE ALSO
Three bodies recovered from lake
24 Sep 06 |  Cumbria
Three people feared dead in lake
23 Sep 06 |  Cumbria

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